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Aaron Rodgers Goes Scorched Earth on the NFL's Covid Response to Joe Rogan

This clip is just 15 minutes of a full three hour conversation Aaron Rodgers just had on the Joe Rogan Experience. But even as just 1/12th of the total interview, it's a pretty good representation of Rodgers' opinion of the NFL's handling of Covid over the last couple of years. 

I've listened to much of it, but my no means all. And the discussion - as they are prone to - takes a couple of long detours into eating bugs, student loan debt, and the Food Appreciation professor at Cal who singled Rodgers out for disciplinary action and promised him he'd never amount to anything. But just sticking to the theme of Rodgers' opinion of the NFL's Covid policy, he picks the league apart, spreads the ball around, moves the chains on them and matriculates the ball downfield at will. 

The bullet points:

--Rodgers says he's allergic to Poly Ethylene Glucose, a substance used in two of the vaccines. As he was considering taking the third, the Johnson & Johnson, it was pulled due to blood clot concerns.

--Instead, he researched homeopathic remedies, including taking diluted oral doses of the virus itself, though he doesn't elaborate. 

--He goes onto say that the league mandated that every unvaxxed player had to wear a yellow wristband (while the vaxxed wore green), workout alone, get tested every day and wear a mask in the facilities.

--As far as being accused of lying about his status, he explains that if any asked, he told them he was "immunized." And if anyone had a follow up about what that means, he would've answered. No one did. But given the wristband and all the other protocols he was following, there was no doubt he'd opted not to get the shots. 

--He talks expansively about the "witch hunt" against unvaccinated players, especially from members of the media who he had gone out of his way to help put with interviews whenever they needed him and so on, but then said nothing when he was getting vilified for doing a press conference unmasked in a room with 30 vaccinated reporters all wearing masks.

--And singles out the one MVP voter who refused to give him a vote because "he's the biggest jerk in the league." 

--And yet most of his vitriol is saved for the NFL. He makes it clear that what we all assume would happen, happened. And that is, the league was giving no exemptions to anyone based on religious or other reasons. Not even their league MVP's allergy. And teams were favoring the vaxxed in personnel decisions, cutting unvaxxed roster bubble guys and refusing to try out free agents unless they could prove they had their shots. 

--Lastly, that the NFL sent a "stooge" around to pressure unvaxxed players to change their minds:

... and threatening to force teams to forfeit games if they didn't hit certain markers and a certain number of players tested positive. And no one would get paid. A rule that Rodgers also said they changed once the playoffs hit, at which time they reduced testing in order to make sure their own policy didn't affect the postseason.

Check out as much of it as you can. But tl;dw, sum it up by saying this war between Rodgers and the NFL is far from over. 

And I think in a broader sense, it's like this across the country. A huge percentage of people who looked at the response by our major institutions and saw nothing but an abuse of power have, like him, saved their receipts. 

Personally, I can understand the NFL going overboard in their protocols. They're a business. Business was being threatened. The 2020 season was a house of cards built on a rickety table that kept rocking and swaying, and yet somehow managed to not hit the floor. So if they overreacted, it was in order to keep up appearances during a time when contracting Covid was seen as a moral failure on somebody's part. Which is to say, before the most vaccinated, boosted, and protected human beings on the planet, from world leaders and their spouses, health officials and a 90 year old Queen all tested positive. Multiple times. 

So while Rodgers can take issue with the NFL and have a very good argument, the larger problem to me is what drove them to that point. The grotesque overreach by the government and affiliated institutions that way oversold every part of this. How dangerous the virus was to the young and healthy. How necessary shutdowns were. How useful masking was. And how effective these shots would be in stopping the spread and preventing symptoms. l

All of which led to a situation where we were taught that people like Rodgers (and has he points out, Novak Djokovic, who still isn't allowed to compete in the US Open despite having Covid twice) are enemies of the state for making their own medical choices. Or as Rogan calls him, "a plague rat." The government, the media, people on social media, all insisted that we regard someone's personal decisions as our fucking business. And if we rolled their heads down the steps of the Sun Temple of Twitter, the Covid Moon God would smile down upon us and bring us joy and prosperity. 

Or as Aldous Huxley said it a century ago in Crome Yellow:

“The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior 'righteous indignation' — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”  

The pushback against the general societal response to all this is underway. As far as the NFL's response is concerned, they've got a PR nightmare on their hands as one of their biggest Face-of-Pro-Football-level superstars and the reigning league MVP is talking. And gives zero shits how the chips fall. Worst of all for them? The season hasn't even begun yet. Aaron Rodgers is just getting warmed up. Get your popcorn ready. 

P.S. It's no one's business, but just for the sake of this discussion: I'm vaxxed and boosted.